reflections on the eve of my 31st birthday

Not moving or not intended to be moved


I’ve said it many times, “we were only supposed to be in Charleston for three months.”  Half of one hurricane season.  That’s it; except, that wasn’t it.  On the eve of my (Lane’s) 31st birthday, I find myself reflecting on the last year.  My 30th year was rough but taught me more than any other year of my life.

The year 2017 brought more challenges than I thought we could handle, and the truth is, we couldn’t handle them–God did.  I never dreamed in my 30th year we would face a pile of bills it felt like we could never pay, an entire year without health insurance in a country that doesn’t make medical care affordable by any stretch of the imagination, a marriage that felt challenging at times, and several months spent in an eating disorder relapsed version of hell; however, 2017 brought some incredible perspective.  TJ and I began to trust God with more than simple prayers, we began to trust Him with everything we had (or didn’t have).

In my 30th year of life TJ and I started our own business.  A phoenix rising out of the ashes from his job loss, if you will.  Together, with a marriage that was full of arguments because we were financially stressed, TJ and I sailed a catamaran 1,001 nautical miles through the entire Caribbean Island Chain for our first official business deal.  It was terrifying, exciting, and forced us to trust each other’s sailing abilities and God to get us through.  We sailed through an “anomaly” where the weather patterns were not on our side and TJ loved me through two panic attacks at sea.  We celebrated together in Grenada and vowed to take more time for each other, regardless of the stress we were under.  We moved God back to the center of our marriage.

Once we returned God to the center of our marriage–where He should’ve been all along–we saw a slight shift.  The numbers in our checkbook never added up.  Looking at the month it seemed we would never be able to pay our bills, put food on the table, and afford to keep Vivienne in preschool.  The mountain was devastatingly huge, yet we kept trusting that God had a plan for us.  We tithed of our money, time, and talents whole heartedly and prayed often. Each month the bills got paid.  God always covered our needs.

By midsummer we felt desperate to try to regain more financial stability.  While we were grateful God always had us covered, living in a state of stress is never easy.  Again we trusted Him and we prayed.  TJ was offered a good job on a cable laying ship and a few weeks later I was offered a part-time job as the Director of Communications for our church.  The church in which we had fully immersed ourselves over the difficult six months since TJ’s job loss.  Of course, I took the job.

This fall TJ and I spent more time in prayer, asking for further guidance in our lives.  We feel called to be missionaries somewhere in the Caribbean or Central America but we haven’t yet been given an assignment. Instead, it appears as if we are assigned to Johns Island, South Carolina for the foreseeable future.  In my 30th year I was offered a full-time position at the church I love, working with amazingly intelligent priests and pastors.  I gave them my word we would remain on Johns Island for a minimum of two years.

As my 30th year comes to a close I could look back and see all the struggles, the heartache, the worry & stress; or I can choose to look at how God moved mountains to keep us floating in a turbulent time.  God transformed my heart over the last year and has worked wonders in our lives and marriage.  I concluded the busy Advent season by formally confessing before God things that Satan has used hold my spirit in guilt and shame for nearly a decade.  Before Christmas I felt as if I’d truly been made clean and had been forgiven for all misdoings.  It was the best birthday gift for which I could have asked.  I didn’t deserve it but it was a gift I was given; it may be the brightest point in 2017.

As I look forward to 2018 and what year 31 has to bring, I look at it with a humbled and grateful heart.  I’m humbled God has given me so much and I’ve learned not to be afraid to ask for mountains to be moved.  I’ll start the year off in a job I love and get to expand that job to be full-time starting in February.  Our marriage is stronger than ever and I’ve learned what it truly means to be forgiven.  My servitude to The Lord has grown, and will continue to grow, as my faith continues to expand.

I’m grateful the challenges my 30th year brought, for they have afforded me opportunities and wisdom I would not have otherwise been granted.  Here’s to 31 and growing even deeper in my service to Christ, my husband, and my daughter.

Te Whakapono,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10
“All things are possible for those who believe.” -Mark 9:23

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